Oxford Principal to Thousand Oaks amid district shuffle

Jennifer Corn

Jennifer Corn: the newly named Principal of Thousand Oaks Elementary School. Photo: BUSD

Update, 4:02 p.m.: The Principal of LeConte Elementary School announced she is resigning shortly after this story was published. In a statement issued today, Kathryn Singh said she would be moving back to Massachusetts due to family matters. BUSD Co-Superintendent Neil Smith said in a note to the LeConte community that Singh had been a great educational leader for LeConte and that “her bilingual and cross-cultural expertise served LeConte well in this year of transitions.” He continued: “I am committed to making the process to hire LeConte’s next principal as transparent and smooth as possible. The opening was officially advertised today both locally and through a well-regarded public education online search service.”

Original story: A Berkeley elementary school principal has been asked to switch schools, opening up a new head-of-school vacancy in a field which has seen several changes recently.

Jen Corn, who has been Principal at Oxford Elementary for two years, will replace Gayle Hughes as the new principal of Thousand Oaks Elementary School. Hughes announced this summer that, due to the relocation of her husband’s workplace, she will be moving to Southern California.

Neil Smith, co-Superintendent of the Berkeley Unified School District, made the announcement last week. In a statement, Smith wrote that during the search for a new principal, the district found that Corn’s experience in bilingual education would greatly enhance Thousand Oaks’ plans to expand its language programs.

Smith added in his email that though this change leaves Oxford without a principal, one of the candidates found in the search for Thousand Oaks school “could be a superb fit for Oxford.”

Corn stated in a letter to the Oxford families that, though she never applied for the Thousand Oaks position and faced a difficult decision in leaving Oxford, she is excited about the opportunity to expand the bilingual program to the upper grades.

Meanwhile Washington Elementary School Principal Rita Kimball left at the end of the last academic year and is being replaced by Mel Stenger. And Willard Middle School has a new Principal after Robert Ithurburn left to take a new post. It was announced earlier this month that Debbie Dean has taken up that post.

Willard names new principal, Thousand Oaks on the hunt (6.14.13)
Berkeley school get recycling back on track (6.15.13)

Eden Teller, a graduate of Berkeley High School, is a summer intern at Berkeleyside. She will be attending Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, next year.

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  • Sylvie

    I sure hope Jen Corn does a better job at connecting with the Thousand Oaks community of teachers, students and families than during her time at Oxford. I heard through the grapevine of staff and families there that Jen could tend to be wishy-washy with her leadership skills. Additionally, Jen has some awfully big shoes to fill after Gayle Hughes in that Gayle was *very* well LOVED by the teachers and families all because of her warm, inviting, inclusive, supportive and smiley spirit. Gayle will certainly be missed by many at TO…

  • Berkeley Bear

    I’m a TO parent, and I have to say that I’m unsure what purpose you’re trying to achieve with your comment. You’ve “heard through the grapevine”? Thanks for the concern, but I don’t think anyone is well served by your spreading anonymous, second-hand opinions, and we’ll have plenty of time to make our own judgments after school gets started again.

  • Bishop George Berkeley

    Same reaction as Berkeley Bear. What a needless and pointless bit of sh*t stirring.
    “Hey everyone, just want to make sure the new principal starts off at a disadvantage by spreading some sourceless gossip that she’s inferior to the ‘perfect’ person who, by the way, is long gone.”

  • Polly

    I’m an Oxford parent, and concur with the other two commenters: no conceivable point in baseless conjecture like this, Sylvie. Also? No truth in it. Jen Corn entered Oxford following Janet Levenson’s departure, and Janet (now beloved as King’s principal) was as beloved at Oxford as a principal can be. Jen has not disappointed: she is the opposite of wishy-washy, knows every student by name, has earned the respect of staff and parents, and led the school to a State Dept of Ed ranking of 10 (out of 10). The school’s API grew by 49 points during her brief tenure, for which gains she (true to form) credited teachers, staff, students, and parents and the community we create together. TO parents, I don’t know Gayle Hughes, but do know that we at Oxford are very, very sorry to see Jen Corn go.

  • EBGuy

    Is it fair to say TWI is in a state of chaos at this point? Can anyone speak to this issue?